Liechtenstein

Liectenstein June 2013 (2)

 

Royal Palace Vaduz

Royal Palace Vaduz

 

Liectenstein June 2013 (1)Here is little bit of knowledge about Liechtenstein.  I have traveled all over the world and yet I have never met anyone who has been there.  I first heard about it at 21 when an old boyfriend proposed to me and suggested Liechtenstein as a venue for the wedding, he sold it as the smallest principality in the world and and I was intrigued.  So 20 years later, after many changes and long after that boyfriend it was still on my bucket list.  I had gotten close many times, Switzerland and Austria are both next door but still never made it as the people I was with at the time weren’t ever interested.   With a population under 35,000, 1.5% unemployment, almost no crime and a very popular reigning royal family I couldn’t wait to get there.   What I found did not disappoint, on the contrary, I cannot wait to return.  It is truly beautiful and I wish I had a car and had stayed longer as it is still on my bucket list and I will definitely go back.  No litter, Liectenstein June 2013 (3)oh my God the place was so clean and the people extremely nice.
What struck me was how happy they were and how much they love their country.   With 1.5% unemployment everyone has a purpose.

To get there We flew to Zurich and from there took the train, the train was fabulous and of course on time.  We all think of the Germans when we think of perfectly timed public transport and living by the rules, well the Swiss Germans take it a step further.  Everything happens according to plan, if they tram is to arrive at 6, it arrives at 6.  You can plan your schedule to a T.  I’m originally from Ireland, the worst public transport in Europe.  This is heaven to me.   The train from Zurich to Sargans took approximately 1.5 hours and from there we took a bus to Vaduz. Zurich to Milano Train June 2013 (22) Zurich to Milano Train June 2013 (18) A lot of tourists stay on Austrian side as it is quite expensive and to stay in Liechtenstein and Austria is cheaper but I decided to stay in Sargans Switzerland as I was which is only ten minutes away by bus and the bus is very regular.   I would have stayed in Liechtenstein but I couldn’t get any accommodation.  Liectenstein June 2013 (21)

Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east and north.  Its area is just over 160 square km (62 sq mi), and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan. Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world when adjusted by purchasing power parity, and has the world’s lowest external debt. Liechtenstein also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at 1.5%.

the Royal family's lovely home

the Royal family’s lovely home

Liechtenstein is the smallest yet the richest (by measure of GDP per capita) German speaking country and the only country to lie entirely within the Alps. It is known as a principality as it is a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince.  Liechtenstein is divided into 11 municipalities.  Much of its terrain is mountainous, making it a winter sports destination. Many cultivated fields and small farms characterize its landscape both in the south (Oberland, upper land) and in the north (Unterland, lower land).

Liectenstein June 2013 (17)The country has a strong financial sector located in the capital, Vaduz, and has been identified as a tax heaven.  It is a member of the European Free Trade Association and part of the European Economic Area and the Schengen Area, but not of the European Union.

During World War II, Liechtenstein remained officially neutral, looking to neighboring Switzerland for assistance and guidance, while family treasures within the war zone were taken to Liechtenstein for safekeeping.  At the close of the conflict,  Czechoslovakia and Poland, acting to seize what they considered to be German possessions, expropriated the entirety of the Liechtenstein dynasty’s hereditary lands and possessions in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia – the princes of Liechtenstein lived in Vienna until the Anschluss of 1938. The expropriations (subject to modern legal dispute at the International Court of Justice) included over 1,600 km2 (618 sq mi) of agricultural and forest land, and several family castles and palaces.Liectenstein June 2013 (27)

Vaduz

Vaduz

Citizens of Liechtenstein were forbidden to enter Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. More recently the diplomatic conflict revolving around the controversial post-war Benes decrees resulted in Liechtenstein not sharing international relations with the Czech Republic or Slovakia.  Diplomatic relations were established between Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic on 13 July 2009, and with Slovakia on 9 December 2009.Liectenstein June 2013 (28)

Liechtenstein has a constitutional monarch as Head of State, and an elected parliament which enacts law. It is also a direct democracy, where voters can propose and enact constitutional amendments and legislation independent of the legislature. The Constitution of Liechtenstein was adopted in March 2003 replacing the previous 1921 constitution which had established Liechtenstein as a constitutional monarchy headed by the reigning prince of the Princely House of Liechtenstein.  A parliamentary system had been established, although the reigning Prince retained substantial political authority.

Liectenstein June 2013 (9)

Vaduz

Vaduz

The reigning Prince is the head of state and represents Liechtenstein in its international relations (although Switzerland has taken responsibility for much of Liechtenstein’s diplomatic relations). The Prince may veto laws adopted by parliament. The Prince can call referenda, propose new legislation, and dissolve parliament, although dissolution of parliament may be subject to a referendum.

New constitution

In a national referendum in March 2003, nearly two-thirds of the electorate voted in support of Hans-Adam II’s proposed new constitution to replace the 1921 one. The proposed constitution was criticised by many, including the Council of Europe, as expanding the powers of the monarchy (continuing the power to veto any law, and allowing the Prince to dismiss the government or any minister). The Prince threatened that if the constitution failed, he would, among other things, convert some of the royal property for commercial use and move to Austria.  The princely family and the Prince enjoy tremendous public support inside the nation, and the resolution passed with about 64% in favour.  A proposal to revoke the Prince’s veto powers was rejected by 76% of voters in a 2012 referendum.Liectenstein June 2013 (7)

Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest country of Europe, after Vatican City, Monaco and San Marino. Its population is primarily Alemannic-speaking, although its resident population is approximately one third foreign-born, primarily German speakers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland other Swiss, Italians, and Turks. Foreign-born people make up two-thirds of the country’s workforce.

the Royal vineyard behind us.  40,000 btls a year.

the Royal vineyard behind us. 40,000 btls a year.

In the background The Crown Prince’s Private Vineyard in his family since 1500’s, bottled and sold locally they make 40,000 bottles a year and have 35,000 residents in Liechtenstein.  So to cap it off, what I found was a pure gem, smack in the middle of the alps, well worth a visit and if its a blissful quite relaxing family holiday your looking for this could well be the place.  When are you going?  My next trip will be in winter to check out those winter sports.


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About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
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  1. Pingback: Zurich Switzerland 2013 | SANDRAOROURKEGLYNN.com

  1. […] left Zurich on Day 4 at 10am and headed for Liechtenstein.  The quality of the trains is second to none, Swiss trains are amazing but no wifi (so far for us […]